Pet retailer invests in automation to expand capacity
An online pet retailer in Stratford-upon-Avon is investing in automation and expanding its capacity to continue its major growth.
Petshop.co.uk sells a variety of branded products for many different pets including brands Applaws, Orijen, Huntland dry dog food, veterinary dog and cat foods and also to small animals and birds, and runs a monthly pet food delivery subscription service.
Plans are in the final stages to install a second pallet wrapping machine and optimise picking order logic system called RFSmart pick planner.
The 85-strong company, which was founded in 2010 by husband-and-wife Adam and Lexi Taylor, is on course to grow by 30 per cent this year from its 50,000 sq ft premises at the Precision Business Park in Masons Road.
Adam is regularly in touch with Jim Clark, account manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, and approached him when he wanted to diversify and further improve productivity in the warehouse.
Clark organised for Adam to have a meeting with Denise Osborne, business development advisor at the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme which was part funded through the European Regional Development Fund and was delivered by Coventry City Council.
Within a week, Adam had successfully applied for a £20,000 grant with Petshop.co.uk adding a further £83,000, leading to the purchase of an electric pallet truck, a shrink wrap machine, bar code scanning machine, warehouse management software and customer database software.
Adam said the swift response from the Growth Hub and Business Support Programme meant they had been able to put their ideas into action really quickly.
“There are about 10,000 products picked every week in our warehouse and we are always looking at ways to improve our systems because we have around half a million customers shopping on Petshop.co.uk every year,” he said.
“Our customers are based all over the UK and our click and collect service is also growing which is great for those living in the area since they save around 10 per cent by collecting their orders instead of paying for packaging and delivery.
“We’re focused on productivity and the financial savings by using the machines have been instant. It means the majority of our packing is now automated and we are still implementing the software so we have not seen its full benefits yet.
“Receiving the grants expediated our investment and gave us the courage to make a significant investment which has been important in our diversification plans.
“We went to Crufts in March for the first time in a long time and the response from customers of the great savings and subscription service convenience on the highest quality, grain free, fresh meat dog and cat foods Carnilove, Huntland and Orijen was really positive. This backs the strong 30 per cent growth Petshop.co.uk has seen this year and is now the largest independent online pet shop in the UK.
“These kinds of grants are fantastic in speeding up innovation of a business and since I’m dyslexic, I don’t find it easy filling out forms but it was a seamless process.
“I have always found Coventry and Warwickshire a great place to do business with the amount of business support that is available.”
Clark said Petshop.co.uk continues to innovate and grow each year which was great for the company and the local economy.
He said: “Adam and Lexi are always innovating and wanting to grow their business and this grant has enabled them to further improve their systems and warehouse equipment.
“Petshop.co.uk is a real success story for Stratford-upon-Avon and the wider area and increasing its efficiency will keep its customers happy along with their pets.”